Plate I - Frontispiece

The frontispiece of this work is composed of an union of many architectural and capricious ornaments, found in different parts of Pompeii, collected and exhibited in such a manner as to give an idea of several objects which could not be represented in detail. The winged figures, at the angles of the pediment, are taken from two, in a similar position, in the Pantheon.

The frieze in front represents, imperfectly, the combat of the Greeks with the Amazons, painted, with inimitable freedom of hand, in one of the cubiculi of the house of the Tragic Poet.

The internal frieze is ornamented with an equally inadequate copy of the frieze of the natatorium of the thermae. The subject is evidently a chariot race ; and nothing can exceed the spirit and freedom of the originals, though now impaired by time and humidity. Under these, on the architrave, is the word Pumpaiinai, Pompeiana, in the Oscar character, written from right to left, like the generality of archaic inscriptions. The name occurs twice in an inscription found in the ruins, and seems appropriate to a work on the city.

To the central architrave in front is appended a basket of fruits, about half the size of the original earring which was found in the excavations. The handle was formed of twisted gold wire, and a pearl was suspended from each side. The basket was of filigree, and the fruits were of coral and of pearls of different colours. Some of the fruits had been restored before it was seen by the author, where they had been found corroded. The whole formed one of the most elegant ornaments possible.

The fantastic architecture in the background is taken partly from the triclinium of the house of the Tragic Poet, and partly from other walls of the late excavations. The pavement is taken from the floor of a house. Two figures, one of which seems sitting on the low wall on the right, and the other on the left, which may represent Painting, have been lately found upon a wall near the Street of Mercury, A. D. 1829.

The charioteers are taken from two different parts of the Pantheon, and the fanciful pillars from a painting upon a panel. The figure of a syren, on the wall to the right, is from the house with the fountain of shells ; and the horse, with the human figure terminating in ornaments, on the opposite side, is from the house of the Dioscuri.

The atlantes represent two of those which support the projecting comice in the therma in terra cotta, and the females are taken from a marble.

The figures of Peace on the left and of War on the right are yet existing in the triclinium of the Tragic Poet ; and the marine deity, with his trident, upon the dolphin in the centre, is from the painting of the hall of Icarus in the same apartment.